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Victims of Falling Trees Cost NYC Big Money

The City of New York paid over $11 million to an engineer who was struck by a falling tree limb in Central Park. The life-altering accident took place in July 2009. This was no small branch, but a 100-pound limb that split off of the tree and fractured the man's skull and partially severed his spine. This was just one of the accidents in a series of falling tree and falling tree limb accidents that took place in Central Park over an 11-month period. Four died as a result of these injuries, including a baby girl who was being held by her mother at the time.

Three other lawsuits have been filed against New York City that have since been settled. This past April, the city paid $3 million to the family of a woman who was killed in February 2010. Just last week, the city agreed to pay $100,000 and a private tree company will pay $650,000 to another victim of these tragic tree branch accidents. This victim suffered a skull fracture. The engineer's story, however, is the worst by far. The man had to relearn how to do everything: swallow, use a wheel chair, etc. The man and his wife had an infant son and toddler daughter at the time.

An arborist is someone who specializes in trees, and one particular arborist had labeled the tree that fell on the engineer dangerous just 20 days before the incident. It was not immediately removed, as it should have been. The case was the same in at least one other incident.

The key to this lawsuit is that New York City knew that a dangerous condition existed but did not rectify it. This theory is codified by a legal term known as "constructive notice". Had the City of New York never known of the problems with the tree and limb that struck the victim, the case would have been, most likely unsuccessful. But since New York City officials knew about the dangerous condition and did not repair it, they were negligent in allowing the limb to fall upon the innocent victims.

Categories: Premises Liability


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The Law Firm of Steven I. Fried, P.C. - Bronx Personal Injury Attorney
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